I had so many ideas for what my next entry would be about. We're moving to Zimbabwe and writing about that excitement was definitely in the works, or sharing a bit about the "homework" I've given myself for while we're there. There were other thoughts in my head and I had written them all down in my notebook that I carry with me everywhere; I had decorated it to make it more interesting, pasted a calendar in there, recorded recipes, phone numbers, to do lists, thoughts about life, I wrote it all in one place so I wouldn't have a ton of little pieces of paper everywhere. It's really a good system for me and I like it more than just buying a day planner because I designed it to my liking. There is nothing worse than having that important piece of my life taken, except of course when other things are stolen at the same time...
After a hectic week of visiting with Jason's parents (not the hectic part), preparing for and helping out at the Community Health Club graduation for Jason's work, and then packing up our lives to fit into the Beast, we started our journey to Zimbabwe. First stop was Durban for a night out with our good friends Jamie, Justin and Heather.
Most of us are tired of the backpackers we've been staying at in Durban, so Jamie was determined to find a classy one that we could rely on that didn't seem sketch. She hit home and we met up at Gibela Lodge, located in a decent part of town, close to restaurants and bars. They were pretty booked so we were all going to share a dorm room together until a double opened up and Jamie and Justin snagged it since Jamie's moving to Tanzania soon. We got dolled up for the evening and went out for a night on the town, all within walking distance. We ate at a really nice Indian restaurant and then went out for drinks at Bean Bag Bohemia before calling it a night and heading back to Gibela around 1:00 am.
Since packing our belongings into the Beast, we were worried about the security for the truck. Normally we're diligent about keeping our valuables out of site but this place seemed really secure and no one seemed sketchy. Instead, they were lying around the room because we trusted the peeps in the room - there were 3 of us and the one other American, Molly, who's a Fullbright scholar. At 5:00 am, I woke up to the sound of my toiletry bag being moved. I saw a man grabbing it and because there is a liner inside, it makes a crinkling sound. I saw someone leave the room and close the door so I asked Jason if he had grabbed my bag but it was clear by his sleepy response that he was not the one. I had a fleeting thought that someone from the backpackers had come in to the room to take my cake and put it in the kitchen since we weren't allowed to have food in the room. That quickly didn't make sense and Jason had already run out of the room trying to find whoever it was that would take a toiletry bag. While he was out, I jumped off the top bunk waking Molly and Heather. Molly discovered her phone, that was right by her head on her pillow had been taken, and he purse was in the middle of the room with no wallet inside. As soon as she mentioned purse, I knew right away that mine was gone because I was standing right where it should have been. My phone was on the dresser and that was gone as well. Jason came back in and I asked him where his wallet was and sure enough, both his wallet and phone were also gone.
We ran outside desperate to find the guy or remnants of our stuff but to no avail. The man that runs the backpackers was shocked to find out we were robbed in the room because he hasn't had an incident in the 7 years he's worked there. Plus there are cameras all around the property so the thief's mug is all over the videos. It turns out that another group that was staying at the lodge had come home after us, around 3:00 or 4:00 am and the last guy in, that stayed out to smoke a cigarette, didn't relock the back door. They most likely were followed home from the bar and the guy waited till all was quiet inside, hopped the fence of the house next door then hopped the wall between the two properties. The unfortunate thing is that our room was in the line of site from the door and because it's a dorm room, it didn't lock. Most likely we scared the crap out of the guy when we woke up so he only had a chance to get into our room.
Maddening: R3,500 cash, our drivers licenses, bank cards, credit cards, phones, my passport, my handy dandy notebook, the capias samples that my mom had made, and my freaking toiletry bag that was a Christmas present. It looks like a purse and had nothing but my toiletries in it, like Burt's Bees foot crème, shampoo & conditioner, soap, deodorant that I can only get in the states, etc. It's frustrating because both Jason and my wallets were taken so that means we have no backup. Our trip to Zim is delayed because we have to wait for new bank cards/credit cards and of course my passport. We were able to get our same phone numbers back, which is nice and our phones were insured so we'll get new ones on Friday. Luckily we have great friends and they fronted us money so we could make the trip up to Joburg and get all these things sorted out.
Of course I keep going over it in my mind. I had a hard time sleeping Sunday night. In the last 2 days, we've heard of 3 separate robbery incidents that have happened in the last 3 days. Yes, it can happen anywhere in the world, but the frequency of the incidents in South Africa make it unique. And it makes it hard to continue loving this country. We let our guard down for a moment, and there was no reason why we should feel guilty that we did - every thing just happened to be in perfect unison for this guy to come waltzing into the backpackers and go into our dorm room and take our stuff.
So my next challenge is to just let it go. No one was hurt and we can replace most things that were stolen. Except of course, my notebook but I'll survive without it and create a new one of those too. Now I just have to make sure this doesn't make me too jaded. I can't let the anger consume me, I have to just let it go. Let it go, let it go...